The body of an expert skier who went missing from a California resort in a Christmas Day blizzard has been found two weeks later in a suburb three miles from where he disappeared.
Rory Angelotta, 43, disappeared while skiing in whiteout conditions at Northstar Ski Resort. The initial search effort was called off on Dec. 30. But on Saturday, teams expanded the search area and brought in a rescue canine, The Placer County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
The body was found about a half mile from a residential neighborhood. Authorities theorize Angelotta got lost in the whiteout conditions.
“Angelotta had traveled a considerable distance from the ski resort boundaries and the backside of the resort,” the sheriff’s office said. “It is possible Angelotta was attempting to find the neighborhood near Truckee when he succumbed to the elements.”
Authorities said they hoped the discovery of Angelotta’s body would provide closure to the family, which released a statement of gratitude for the search effort.
“The Angelotta family is deeply touched by the overwhelming outpouring of prayers and support during this extremely difficult time,” the family statement said. “And personally wants to thank everyone that accompanied in the search and assisted them during these last two weeks.”
The University of California, Berkeley, Central Sierra Snow Lab, just a few miles from Truckee, reported a 24-hour snow total of 38.9 inches a day after Christmas. California’s mountains saw record-setting snow throughout December – the lab site easily smashed its old December record of 179 inches set in 1970.
Angelotta’s lift pass was scanned at 11:30 a.m. on the Dec. 25. Friends alerted authorities later that day when he failed to show up for Christmas dinner.
Rescue teams “faced high avalanche danger, strong winds, whiteout flurries, frigid temperatures and heavy snow loads,” the sheriff’s office said. Rescue personnel used skis, snowmobiles, a truck-size snowcat and a helicopter during their search.
Authorities said that “due to the considerable distance Angelotta had traveled” from the resort, the areas where the body was found was not included in the original emergency search efforts.
“There was no indication of any suspicious or unusual activity,” he sheriff’s office added.